5 tips for working from home happily and healthily.
By Amy Crawford
If you love managing your own time, wearing your pyjamas and not having to deal with a commute, working from home can be an absolute dream. But it’s not for everyone; working from home can be isolating and the distractions are endless.
Before you say goodbye to the office, here are 5 tips for working from home, happily and healthily.
1. Design the space
Make your workspace somewhere special with your wellbeing in mind. Ideally your workspace should have natural light and be away from the action (or at least the clutter). A diffuser filled with essential oils like frankincense, lemon and peppermint will help sharpen your focus. Because you are the ‘manager’ at home you can even choose the music. If you were for whatever reason uncomfortable to sit on a fitball or have a standing desk in a regular office – have one at home. Keep a big water bottle handy along with your favourite teapot with herbal blends. Ginseng tea is great for concentration along with green tea and rosemary tea.
The ultimate scenario of course is that you have an office with a door you can close at the end of the day, and walk away from. Work stays in the office in my home.
2. Get a social fix - daily
We all need human interaction. When you work from home you tend to communicate far more via email, text and social media. The lack of actual face time can make you feel isolated and alone. I make a daily trip to my favourite café for my morning coffee hit - a habit I will never forgo as the social fix is always worth the effort too. It’s important to maintain your relationships and keep expanding your network no matter how remotely you work. Every few weeks, mix it up with an afternoon working from a café or the library; just being around other people will make you feel connected.
3. Know when to power
The great part about working from home – especially if you’re the boss - is that you manage your hours. You know when your energy is high and focus is strong – and you can design your workday around that. If you’re a morning person who gets all the heavy lifting done after a strong coffee, consider getting up at 5am. Save the easy admin for when you know your energy will be starting to fade in the afternoon, and finish the day by 3pm. Alternatively, if you like a slow start and can only get into work mode after the dog has been walked or you’ve finished yoga, design your day for afternoon power surges. Everyone is different but knowing when your power hours are can make you more productive and your workday will flow (instead of grind).
4. Find your domestic rhythm
The laundry pile is a distraction – and a time sucker. It’s very easy to get distracted by house chores when you know you should be working. However! Get smart about it! I tend to domestics throughout the day so I rarely have to tidy up at night or ‘after work’. Every hour I jump up from my desk for a 5 minute break and move - put some washing on, hang it out, fold linen, do the dishes and generally get all the domestic chores out of the way. That way, my nights are free for relaxation.
Your rhythm might be different. Perhaps you need to tidy up before you sit down to work. Maybe you shut the door and forget about the dishes. Whatever works for you – just resist all urges to reorganise and redecorate.
5. Set work boundaries
If you’re a parent who works from home during school hours you might find the work/family boundaries blur here, there and well, everywhere! Just because you are physically at home (and not at an office) family members tend to assume you can easily drop work to shop, cook and take care of domestics – because you’re home. While working from home does make things flexible for mums and dads, you still need boundaries. Your work time is just that – carve it out and let your family know your start and finish times.
Finally, remember to stop working when the workday is done. That means no emailing on the couch while watching GOT. You can’t physically leave an external "office" so practice a mental switch off from work - and let it go.
Do you work from home and if so, do you have any tips to add? We'd love to hear how we might become even happier and healthier in our home working spaces!